WIC Week

WOMEN IN CONSTRUCTION: MENTORS, LEADERS, INFLUENCERS

While progress is being made in the construction industry, women still only make up 10.9% of the workforce. According to studies, 45% of women indicated that a lack of senior female role models was a barrier to progression or even considering a career in construction.

At Swinerton, our admin and craft female employee-owners currently make up nearly 15% of the company’s talent population. With Equity & Inclusion at the forefront, as well as a One Swinerton culture where coaching, mentoring, development, and diversity of perspective is valued, we hope to see these numbers, and the voices and perspectives of our employees—from project administration and support service professionals to senior operations leadership—continue to grow. We have long since participated in national organizations like NAWIC and are excited to announce the launch of our own Women’s Business Resource Group.

For Women in Construction Week 2021, we would like to spotlight just a few of our mentors, leaders, and influencers at Swinerton.

LIA TATEVOSIAN

Division Manager

2021 Construction Dive Spotlight: Industry Veteran

Lia started her career with Swinerton over 25 years ago as a field Project Engineer. She is passionate about maintaining and strengthening Swinerton’s culture and brand, developing future leaders, making a difference in our communities, supporting the success of women and diverse thinkers in our industry, and ensuring opportunities are created fairly for everyone. She proudly serves on the ACE Los Angeles/Orange County Chapter Board, an organization that exposes high school students to the architecture, construction, and engineering disciplines and provides direction, scholarships, and internships in their desired fields.  Additionally, for the past several years Lia has played a lead role in the diversification of Swinerton’s OC/LA operations while recruiting and mentoring young women and professionals from varying diverse backgrounds.  She has also led and participated in several industry mentoring events and programs for organizations such as WiOPS and SEAOSC.

“The result of success and advancement in any industry requires a combination of having great mentors and believing in yourself.  I’ve been very lucky to not only having great mentors in my life, but to be in a position to offer sound advice, direction, and wisdom to so many young talented individuals throughout my career.  Mentoring and developing others is by far my most favorite part of my job.”

LORI DUNN-GUION

Division Manager

2021 Construction Dive Spotlight: Up-and-Coming Leader

Over 20 years ago, Lori started at Swinerton as an Intern Project Engineer and has risen the ranks to Division Manager, demonstrating one of the many career paths in the company. She is also an active mentor inspiring and cultivating talent at Swinerton and a community leader through her volunteer commitments and as President of The Swinerton Foundation. Passionate about the construction industry, Lori coaches and mentors younger team members to inspire professional growth, engagement, and innovation. She listens to project teams’ challenges and concerns and works to impart the knowledge and experience she has gained to help provide strategic vision. Lori recently provided oversight for a Bay Area mentorship program for Swinerton employees set to launch this summer. In January, San Francisco Mayor London Breed appointed Lori Dunn-Guion to the Workforce Investment San Francisco (WISF) Board to help the Bay Area workforce thrive by improving access and opportunities for employment through education, training, and support services.

“Mentorship is so important on your journey—having a trusted advisor that can help guide you on the most fulfilling career path. To me, being a mentor, means making myself accessible and available to team members that are craving advice on how to best navigate our industry.”

CARRIE SHAEFFER

National Director of Aviation

Understanding early in her career that one of the best ways to succeed is to surround yourself with smart people, Carrie placed great importance on developing talent and leadership at every level, creating strong teams through a culture of positivity, high expectations, and personal accountability. She now leads the national aviation team, which leverages talent from across the company required for project success. She was a contributor in Swinerton’s Talent Retention & Recruiting Committee that developed the company’s Career Blueprint, a talent development tool Swinerton uses to have transparent discussions on how an individual can grow in their career at Swinerton.

“Leading by example is good but not enough. Effective leadership involves motivating others to innovate and achieve beyond their expectations and yours. Talent determines what you can do; motivation determines how much you are willing to do; and attitude determines how well you do it.”

KHALIA DAVIS

Corporate Counsel and Director of Compliance

Khalia serves as Swinerton’s EEO Officer and in-house Counsel, working in conjunction with appropriate internal Swinerton departments to oversee, administer and update the Corporate Labor Compliance Program, Small/Disadvantage Program, and Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Program. An attorney with over 10 years of professional experience working in the fields of employment discrimination, labor compliance, equity and inclusion, policymaking, and training, Khalia brings a unique perspective to Swinerton. She is one of eight founding members of Swinerton’s Equity and Inclusion Council, which was formed to continue our efforts to educate our employees and encourage a more culturally inclusive environment. Khalia also leads the Black Community Business Resource Group (BCBRG). Prior to Swinerton, Khalia was part of the founding members of Washington State’s Business Resource Group open to 1000+ people in all state agencies, Blacks United in Leadership & Diversity (BUILD).

“To me, leadership is actually being a student and not just a teacher. Being a good leader means having the open-mindedness to listen to what your team is saying and change. It’s an exciting time in the construction industry right now for change. And I am proud of the growth at Swinerton since I’ve started; we now have a growing compliance department, the Equity and Inclusion council, and the BCBRG.”

SUSAN NAMUTH

Office Manager and Marketing Coordinator

Susan’s passion for helping others, along with an unwavering commitment to Swinerton’s mission of corporate stewardship sets the standard for the rest of us to aspire to. Whether a Project Coordinator, Sr. Administrative Assistant, or in her current role, Susan finds her favorite part of her job is working with the local community. Susan takes an active role in selecting organizations, conducting extensive research to ensure the organizations we support align with our clients’, subcontractors’, and our own employees’ passions, the needs of the local community, and Swinerton’s Corporate Social Responsibility goals on a national scale.  Under Susan’s leadership, the Austin and Dallas offices, combined with support from The Swinerton Foundation, contributed to 14 separate organizations during 2019.  During last year’s Fall Giving Challenge, the Texas Division contributed more volunteer hours per employee and more financial contributions per employee than any other division.

“I’m grateful to work for a company that not only supports the communities we live and work in but encourages employees to find their passion. Helping people find a way to get involved in their community has been rewarding on both a personal and professional level.”

ERICA SPIRITOS

Preconstruction Manager, Mass Timber

If you’ve worked on a mass timber project, you may have worked with Erica. With a civil engineering background, Erica has dedicated her career to building cities in ways that honor the natural resources on which our lives depend. Erica has worked to accelerate the mainstream adoption of mass timber, coming up with creative solutions to make mass timber a reality on precedent-setting projects across the United States. She is recognized as a thought-leader in the industry, and was named the Oregon Daily Journal of Commerce 2018 Sustainability Leader of the Year.

“I’m passionate about interacting and learning from people who have different experiences and perspectives, who find common ground in a love and respect for forests and trees.”

JULIE LUU

Apprentice

Julie immediately fell in love with the vast amount of networking and leadership opportunities the construction industry offers. She was inspired and excited by the energy and healthy competition amongst the foremen, journeymen, and apprentices she works with—the mutual drive to learn and grow. She aspires to set new trends in the industry as a craftsman and carpenter, all while developing her leadership and mentorship capabilities. She is also proud of her ability to advance her layout skills over the past year while studying at the Union Carpenters Training Facility. Julie was recently recognized as a Woman of Influence by Los Angeles Business Journal.

“This is a great career option for women who are passionate about creating and building things with their hands – like an artist. I got the chance to learn from [leadmen and foremen] and experience firsthand how they lead and manage people. I have to lead by example and motivate my team rather than just being a ‘boss.’ You have to inspire them and help them find their purpose as well. For me, that is mentorship.”